Tuesday 25 October 2016

2026 World Cup bidding delayed following FIFA scandal

Published 10/06/2015 | 11:37

Sepp Blatter
Sepp Blatter

FIFA has announced the date for the election of Sepp Blatter's successor as president will be decided next month - with December 16 a likely option - and postponed the bidding process for the 2026 World Cup.

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The corruption crisis that has engulfed the world governing body continues to make waves with FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke defending his involvement in a 10million US dollar (£6.5million) payment from South Africa to Jack Warner via FIFA's executive office.

Blatter announced he would resign last Tuesday - four days after he was re-elected for a fifth term - following corruption charges against FIFA officials that caused the biggest crisis in the world governing body's history.

FIFA said an extraordinary meeting of its executive committee will take place in July where the decision on the date of a Congress to hold the presidential election will be taken.

A FIFA spokesperson said: "It requires an extraordinary executive committee to confirm a date and agenda for the extraordinary elective Congress. This extraordinary executive committee will convene in July, the precise date to be confirmed this week. There are currently various date options for discussion at this extraordinary executive committee meeting."

Blatter, 79, confirmed his departure at a hastily-arranged press conference in Zurich and said he would stay as president until the election which is due to be held between December and March, and it is understood mid-December is viewed as a likely option.

Valcke attended a Russia 2018 World Cup organising committee board meeting in Samara, in Russia's Volga region, where he confirmed details on the bidding process for the 2026 World Cup, which was due to be announced this week, had been postponed.

He also defended FIFA's handling of the 10million US dollar payment to a Caribbean Football Union account controlled by Warner, the former FIFA vice-president whose deputy Chuck Blazer has pleaded guilty in court of taking some of the money as a bribe to vote for South Africa to host the 2010 World Cup.

The payment followed a 2008 letter from the South African Football Association (SAFA) to Valcke asking for the money to be deducted for the World Cup budget and sent as a legacy programme to be administered by Warner.

Valcke told a news conference in Samara: "It was not FIFA's money.. it was a request from official South African authorities and SAFA. As long as it is in line with rules we do it.

"I don't understand what's the problem and why I am such a target in this question.

"You [the media] have decided that after Blatter I am the head to be cut, fine, but don't say it is because of this 10million dollars."

Press Association Sport revealed on Tuesday that the 10million dollars never appeared in the financial statements of either the CFU or the CONCACAF federation.

Valcke said preparations for the World Cup and the preliminary draw in St Petersburg on July 25 were "well under way and on schedule".

Russia 2018 local organising committee chairman Vitaly Mutko added: "There's no doubt all the events of 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia will go through at top level."

Press Association

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